Tuesday, May 25, 2010
St. Bede, monk of Jarrow (672 / 673 – May 26, 735)
Bede was a historian in the early English church and spent most of his time at Monkwearmouth and Jarrow, both in Northumbria . He became a monk at an early age, and is our chief source about the early English church, especially in his Eccelisatical History of the English.
He wrote some 59 other books, most of which we still have, and had a correspondence traversing England and was apparently well traveled as well. Bede continued writing even on his death bed, and is an example of the importance of scholarship on the church. Interestingly enough, Bede is the only source mentioning an Anglic goddes, Oster who has been used by some extreme Protestant circles to counteract the celebration of Easter or the name.
Dear Lord, you gave the venerable Bede great gifts in writing and preserving the life of the early English church. Raise up in this and every generation men and women who can show how His Story is the true history of the world. This we ask through Yeshua haMoshiach who lives and reigns with you and the Ruach haKodesh, one God in glory everlasting. Amen. (white)
Monday, May 10, 2010
Isaiah (Yeshayahu) the prophet was of royal lineage and lived about 700 years before Christ. He was raised to have awe for God and to know and obey the law. He was called by the Lord during the kingship of King Uzziah and continued on for some sixty years. The start of his service began with a remarkable vision (Isaiah 6) in which Isaiah sees the holiness of the Lord and the sinfulness of man.
Isaiah constantly condemns the nation of Israel for injustice, especially against the poor, and calls for Israel to repent. He has a strong image of man’s need to repent, and God’s mercy if we do repent.
Isaiah was also well know for the suffering servant passages, which are both a description of Israel, and of the Messiah. He also predicts the virgin birth, and sets the context for the life of the Messiah.
Isaiah was eventually condemned to death, and sawed in two.
Heavenly Father, you cleansed the lips of Isaiah and raised him up to be a witness to the suffering servant and to help us to recognise the suffering servant. Remind us daily, since we are called by your name, that we are yours, and that we should daily remind those around us of your mighty deeds. Send us Lord into the world to proclaim that Messiah has come to save sinners. This we ask through Yeshua haMoshiach who lives and reigns with you and the Ruach haKodesh, one God in glory everlasting. Amen (red)
Sunday, May 9, 2010
Nikolaus Ludwig Graff von Zinzendorf und Pottendorf (26 May 1700 in Dresden- 9 May 1760 in Herrnhut) (Nicholas Count Zinzendorf)
Nicholas, Count Zinzendorf was born in Dresden in 1700. He was very much a product of his time. Nicholas found the Lutheran Church (Dresdener Landes Kirche) to be rather dry. Influenced by his pietist grandmother, he found a joy in Christianity that seemed to be lacking in the Lutheran church of the time. Even in childhood he had a deep faith, and in adolescence struggled with whether to follow the Gospel or to fulfill his responsibilities to the king of Dresden as Count. At this time he established the Order of the Grain of Mustard Seed, a group in which the young men involved promised to use their position to further the Gospel. He later reordered the group as an adult, and such men as the King of Denmark, the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Archbishop of Paris joined.
During his grand tour, he saw the painting ecce homo by Domenico Fette. The legend below the painting stated: "This have I done for you - Now what will you do for me?"
Count Zinzendorf felt that Christ himself was speaking to him and dedicated himself to the cause of Christ.
He married Erdmuth Dorothea von Reuss and took upon his duties at the royal court of Dresden. During this period, a group of Moravian Christians asked for refuge which he granted, and they formed the village of Herrnhut (the Lord’s Watch) on his land. Count Zinzendorf read about the early Unity movement and was impressed. His Moravians went through some serious divisions, and in 1727 Count Zinzendorf retired from public service to reunite them. Through daily Bible readings, they developed the Brotherly Agreement in which all secular activities were subordinated to spreading the Gospel. His communities were unusual in promoting equality of women, and having nobles and peasants working side by side. August 27, 1727 also marked another mile stone. They committed to pray 24 hours per day, 7 days per week for mission. That prayer group continued for more than 100 years and probably is the reason Moravian missions were so successful.
Hernnhut, under the leaderhip of Bishop Zinzendorf sent out missionaries to slaves in the west Indies, to South America, to the US Amerindians, to the Inuit of Greenland and Labrador, to Suriname, South Africa, Lyvonia, and Egypts. Bishop Zinzendorf’s missions often had an interesting twist. For the most part they worked in areas with no Christian presence. Once having developed the mission, they would often hand it over to another church, such as the Baptists or Methodist. In fact, while John Carey is called the father of modern missions, that name really should go to Count Zinzendorf.
In addition to managing Herrnhut, Bishop Zinzendorf had a wide ranging ministry and infected many people with a true love of God, dedicated to helping others, and helping men of means to dedicate themselves to proclaiming the Gospel.